Caring for an elderly loved one can be both a rewarding and stressful responsibility. In most cases, it can lead caregivers down a path of physical and emotional struggles. The responsibility often falls on the hands of close relatives, making them feel trapped caring for elderly parent and in an endless cycle of duties. In addition to becoming less productive in their personal lives, the feeling of entrapment can result in caregiver burnout – a feeling of mental exhaustion. That is why many elderly individuals and their families opt for live-in care providers.
Live-in care is an innovative approach to caring for elderly loved ones that aims to alleviate the strain on their relatives. It is a 24h care that ensures your parent receives dedicated care while freeing you to focus on other aspects of your life. To fully understand the benefits of live-in care, it is essential to understand the challenges that caregivers go through.
Emotional and Physical Challenges of Caregiving
Caring for an elderly individual involves a roller-coaster of emotions and daily activities. On one hand, you will feel deep joy and fulfilment being there for them. Conversely, you might experience intense stress, sorrow or even resentment since these daily activities often conflict with your personal life. Here are some of the emotional and physical challenges faced by individuals trapped caring for elderly parent:
- Stress and anxiety – providing care for an elderly parent can often lead to elevated levels of stress and anxiety, especially if there are potential health concerns or financial challenges.
- Isolation – caregivers will often experience a sense of isolation and loneliness since caring for an elderly parent demands a lot of time, which limits social interactions.
- Loss and grief – in cases where the elderly individual has health concerns, there is a great chance the caregiver would start feeling a sense of loss of the vibrant and independent individual they once knew. It can be difficult to cope with the gradual changes in the physical and mental well-being of the parent, which could easily trigger anticipatory grief.
- Sleep deprivation – most caregivers have to provide 24h care to their loved ones, which often results in sleep deprivation. These daily activities include feeding, medication management, bathing and medical care. All these activities take a lot of time and exacerbate the physical toll on the caregiver.
The feeling of constant demands of caregiving, combined with all the emotional challenges above, can take a toll on the emotional well-being of the caregiver, possibly leading them to depression. It is even harder for individuals who have to balance between personal lives and providing care to their elderly loved ones.
Balancing Caregiving and Other Obligations
In the effort to avoid feeling trapped caring for elderly parent, caregivers often strive to balance caregiving and other obligations such as work and personal life. Unfortunately, that can be challenging due to various reasons.
For starters, caregivers can struggle to divide their time and attention between caring for their elderly parents and attending to their interests. If the carer has a spouse or family, things can get even more complicated as these competing responsibilities create constant tensions, bringing issues into their relationships.
In addition, these responsibilities can deprive the caregiver of personal time. So, even if they do not have a family, they may end up getting trapped caring for an elderly parent, completely neglecting their career and other activities that bring them joy.
Importance of Recognising Caregiver Burnout
Recognising and addressing caregiver burnout is crucial to ensuring the elderly parent receives quality care. Some signs of burnout include persistent fatigue, heightened irritability and minimal social interactions. Burnout also leads to a decline in the ability to provide proper care.
Caregivers should learn to prioritise self-care to reduce the risk of burnout. That involves delegating some responsibilities, delegating tasks and exploring respite care options. They should also consider taking regular breaks, seeking support from family, friends or support groups and participating in activities that rejuvenate the spirit. Remember that self-care empowers you to offer better care to your elderly parent.
Exploring Live-in Care as a Solution
Although self-care has proven useful for preventing caregiver burnout, live-in care provides a comprehensive solution for individuals feeling trapped caring for elderly parent. As the name suggests, live-in care involves a dedicated carer living with the senior, providing 24h care and companionship. Here are some of the reasons why live-in care is an ideal solution to caregiver challenges:
- Personalised care – as their focus is on one individual, a live-in caregiver will tailor care plans to suit the unique requirements of your elderly parent. That ensures the senior eats proper food on time and takes their medication as required.
- Companionship – a live-in carer is always available for your elderly loved one, engaging them in conversations and providing emotional support. That reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Safety – having a live-in caregiver around can help keep an elderly parent safe as they are trained to prevent potential accidents and swiftly eliminate potential hazards.
- Peace of mind – as a son or daughter of an elderly parent, having a live-in carer providing around-the-clock care brings a sense of relief and peace of mind. It reduces stress and anxiety, freeing up your mind and time to focus on other aspects of your career and personal life.
Discussing Options With Elderly Parent
Bringing up the subject of live-in care with an elderly parent can sometimes be a little challenging. However, how you approach the conversation can be the difference between their openness to the idea and complete disagreement. Here are a few tips for broaching the subject;
- Use gentle and respective language
- Emphasise the mutual benefits and reasons why they need a live-in caregiver, including personalised care, safety and companionship.
- Listen and address their fears and concerns to reassure them of the advantages of having a live-in caregiver.
If you are lucky enough, your elderly parent will be open to the idea as soon as you pitch it. However, some can be stubborn and insist they can take care of themselves. In such a case, it is important to know how to deal with selfish elderly parents. The key is to allow them to express their feelings regarding the subject and ensure you involve them in decision-making. Contact Veritas Care today for a complete care assessment and a comprehensive guide on how to deal with selfish elderly parents.